Start thinking about your employees as astronauts in space

As the pandemic persists and working from home remains the norm for many employees, leaders may want to consider a different approach to understanding the severity of the situation. A large dose of human sympathy is needed.

What if leaders thought of their team members as astronauts on the International Space Station?

Despite a lack of gravity, astronauts find themselves in a very similar situation to that of domestic workers. Reflect on the following for homework team members and astronauts:

  • Limited to closed space for extended periods
  • Restricted to those with whom they live for personal exchange (If they are living with others.)
  • It is not possible to be face to face with family members
  • Just able to make video calls for social interaction

All of this to say that leaders on Earth may learn from NASA and how they train astronauts to deal with the reality of long periods of loneliness.

NASA is well aware that mood levels can change if steps are not taken to prevent the negative effects of loneliness. Land Control does not want to diminish understanding, behavior or confidence. If stress and anxiety increase – if sleep disturbances occur – the astronaut’s performance will be questionable.

This is not a very good equation for NASA. Life is in danger, after all. (And don’t forget about the high costs of a space mission.)

How NASA Prevents Astronaut Isolation

When dealing with millions of investment dollars, the last thing NASA wants is astronauts who are motionless and dissatisfied. Only mortals on Earth could learn something from our astronaut colleagues.

NASA chief scientist for Human Factors and Behavioral Performance Feature, Tom Williams, developed an acronym to help achieve good psychological health. Derived from the Human Research Program (HRP), the seven terms that make up the acronym “CUNNART“Help teach astronauts how to deal with the inevitable negative effects of being on their own or on their own.

This is the acronym you want to introduce to your team members on Earth.

Community: “Coming to the Moon helped people around the world feel more united as they felt a sense of belonging, unity, with shared hopes and dreams fulfilled,” Williams said. leaders communicate to employees the importance of their work to the wider community, self-esteem is increasing The role of a leader is to clarify the purpose of the organization and remind team members that they are part of something bigger than themselves.This sense of community will help connect the team despite being separated.

Openness“People who are open tend to be more resilient as they see more ways to get into trouble and adjust to life’s challenges,” said Williams. The pandemic is still a major challenge. The clearer you describe the strategy, what goes right and wrong while you ask for feedback and input from the employee, you are with your team? Your team is full of ideas and responses Open up your heart and mind and start asking them for their opinions. more as part of something than staying intimate.

Networking: It is essential to network with others during the pandemic. But this doesn’t have to be about work. Why not incorporate some fun into your networking preferences. (I’ve written about five ways you can have some fun here on Forbes.) In space, NASA makes sure the astronauts are in close contact with family, friends, doctors and other health providers. But care packages are also critical to their networking strategy. The care packages can “include personal items, such as family photos, magazines and favorite snacks to help them feel connected to the home.” NASA also organizes driving parades to mark anniversaries and birthdays. They also receive food delivered to the astronaut’s family home.

Needs: NASA makes sure astronauts exercise, eat healthily, and get plenty of rest and sleep. As a leader on Earth, do you ask those kinds of questions of your team members? Why not? These types of personal conversations are no longer taboo. The more you engage with employees by asking about basic life needs, the more they will look at you as a person and not just as a leader.

Expeditionary Mind: “Self- and team-care, cultural communication, group life, and teamwork are essential mission skills,” said James Picano, operational psychologist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. “In training, astronauts use skills in managing conflict, eliminating situations, keeping personal work areas clean and caring for another team.” Back on Earth, I recommend that leaders encourage team members to think differently, try new ideas, and overlook team norms or team action. Get creative, and help employees spread their inner creativity. When leaders attack the “progressive mind,” they allow employees to seek out new challenges.

Side effects: NASA asks astronauts to make a magazine during their time in space. This allows the astronauts to ventilate, relieve angst, and deal with stress. Of course, countermeasures are mental techniques. What are you doing as a leader to help your team members handle the pressures of loneliness and other Zoom video meeting? It is not enough to specify tasks. You need to get into the employee’s mood and suggest ways to be motivating but calm. One company I work with has bought the Calm app for every 30,000 employees. It is a beautiful example of side effects.

Training and Preparation: Astronauts are well trained and prepared for their missions. Did you know that they will continue their training and preparation while in space? It does not end on Earth. So, as a people leader, what have you been doing to ensure that skills development for people continues during the pandemic? When I was hired to hold major workshops or workshops over the past year, they are all almost complete. They happen because leaders have seen the need to continue to develop their teams. However, many organizations and leaders have neglected any training either because they believe it is almost not good enough, or because they are just waiting for a face-to-face return. That’s as good a leadership strategy as pointing out that the pandemic isn’t real. Leaders: invest in your people and train them. Now!


My 4th book, “Lead. Care. Win. As an important leader,“It was recently published. Amy. C. Edmondson from Harvard Business School says it is “a valuable road map. ”A 16+ hour online leadership development program is also available. Nearly 100 videos over nine lessons.